Interim Town Manager Susan Holecheck’s contract will be revisited when the Pahrump Town Board meets on Tuesday.
Board member Dr. Tom Waters sponsored an agenda item to amend the newly hired manager’s contract.
Waters’ main motivation for revisiting Holecheck’s contract came in the wake of July’s summer monsoon storms that dumped torrents of rain in the valley just days after Holecheck assumed her new position.
Contained in the agenda’s backup material Waters stated, “In light of the outstanding work performance in response to the natural disaster of flooding along with several other emergency situations, and to provide stability for the Town of Pahrump, a longer-term contract is desired and pursuant to the existing contract the town board should consider an increase in salary,” he said.
Board Chair Harley Kulkin sang the praises of the interim town manager’s performance, too.
“There haven’t been any problems at all with Susan. She jumped right in like she had been doing it for years. She took the ball and just ran with it. I think everybody is surprised and impressed that she was able to get in there and knew exactly what to do. I even asked some of the department heads about how they feel and they told me they were very happy with her. I think everybody feels very positive,” he said.
Holecheck, a former mayor of Mesquite, was one of six candidates vying for the town manager position after Bill Kohbarger tendered his resignation earlier this summer.
His final day on the job was July 12.
Outlined within the original interim contract, Holecheck receives a $55,000 annual base salary or $27,500 for six months of work.
By contrast, Kohbarger earned more than $100,000 annually.
When board members approved Holecheck’s contract roughly two months ago Board Chair Harley Kulkin explained the apparent discrepancy in pay.
“That $55,000 figure would just be for the length of that particular interim contract and once it’s renegotiated, naturally she could ask for more. I would assume that she would, but whether she gets it or not or even gets a renewed contract would be based on the satisfaction of the board and staff. It’s important to understand that Bill (Kohbarger) also had an awful lot of education and certificates for being a previous town manager,” he said at the time.
Board member Amy Riches said she was not quite sure of what to make of the new town manager’s salary compared to Kohbarger’s.
“Bill was getting over $100,000 a year so I was a little surprised that it was not the same amount of money. In fact, I don’t even know who negotiated the contract. You have to understand that I have never seen anything like this because I have never been on a town board before, so I didn’t really understand why. I thought that the amount was kind of odd but it is up to her and she is the one who accepted it,” she said at the time.
In other town business, board members will also consider restructuring the town’s director of tourism position to meet the guidelines of the U.S. Department of Labor wage and hour division.
Board Vice Chair Bill Dolan said the item was put on the agenda as a way to possibly save the town money on overtime pay.
“Arlette Ledbetter is our tourism person and in and around her duties we saw last year that there was a lot of overtime. We have been committed to cutting down on overtime and we are looking at making it a salary position so we can control some of the overtime,” he said.
An additional action agenda item will allow the board to consider approving contractual write-offs for Pahrump’s ambulance service through June of this year.
Last year alone, the town collected only $270,491 of $656,419 in billable charges.
As a result, the town was forced to write off $385,928 worth of potential revenue.
The inability to collect the charges, board members say, stems from patients who are financially unable or unwilling to pay for ambulance and medical services.
Holecheck, said the write-offs allow the town’s ledger sheet to remain accurate and up to date.
“To ensure timely and accurate recording of our revenues, Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) requires that the outstanding delinquent ambulance accounts receivable balances be reviewed periodically so that appropriate accounting entries are recorded to reflect the probability of collecting the amounts due. If the additional efforts by the collection agency are successful, then a recovery of the write-off is made. This involves two basic parts: first, there is a reversal of the write-off entry, and secondly, the payment is posted to the receivable just as if it had never been written off,” she noted.
Town of Pahrump Finance Director Michael Sullivan reiterated that the town is always willing to work with those who are not able to pay for the services provided by the town’s ambulance service.
“It is not uncommon in the medical field that patients are unable or unwilling to pay. We use a process that is not much different from any other agency. We attempt to set up payment plans. We always understand that people’s personal finances are affected by serious illness but we are willing to work with everybody,” he said.
Tuesday’s regular town board meeting is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the Nye County Government Complex.